Street gangs pose a serious threat to the safety of youth, families, and communities across our country. In addition to crimes such as drug offenses and robbery, gangs are increasingly involved in sex trafficking. In their drive to maximize illicit profits and control territory, it is estimated that gangs commit on average 48 percent of all violent crime.
Our partners in law enforcement work tirelessly to suppress gang activity and hold offenders accountable. However, communities cannot arrest and incarcerate their way out of gang-related problems. Community leaders, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, and schools are working together to protect youth who are most susceptible to recruitment to help contain the spread of gang activity.
As President Trump noted last month in his proclamation of National Gang Violence Prevention Week, the Department of Justice is engaged in “comprehensive solutions focused on prevention, intervention, and suppression.” OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model is a proven framework for this coordinated approach to keep vulnerable youth from joining gangs, reduce gang violence and crime, and bring offenders to justice. The Model offers guidelines to help communities—
- Mobilize and collaborate with community leaders, residents, and organizations to plan and carry out anti-gang initiatives,
- Engage at-risk youth in programs with prosocial peers and connect them with educational and employment opportunities,
- Provide services such as life skills training and substance abuse counseling to youth who want to desist from gang activity, and
- Enforce accountability through community policing.
The National Gang Center provides information, training, and technical assistance on the Comprehensive Gang Model to community stakeholders. The Center also offers training and information on gang task forces, investigations, prosecution, gangs in schools, and many other topics. I encourage everyone to visit the Center at nationalgangcenter.gov.
I want to thank all the citizens and local agencies and organizations across our nation who are working together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in their communities in order to develop comprehensive solutions to address them. I’m also deeply grateful to law enforcement for their commitment to upholding the rule of law and keeping us safe.